The Externship Program provides law students with the opportunity to gain valuable legal work experience while earning academic credit.
Completing an externship can:
Make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers
Aid your transition from law student to practicing attorney
Allow you to practice and improve critical lawyering skills and values
Help you form your professional identity
Increase your awareness of social justice issues
Law-related placements outside of law school, where you generally work for a government agency, nonprofit or court and attend a seminar with law school faculty
Similar to internships, but instead of working for pay, you earn law school credit upon satisfactory completion
Educational opportunities, where students are closely mentored by onsite supervising attorneys or judges, with time to reflect on and discuss your experience with a faculty supervisor in a related seminar
Opportunities to apply your legal training in real-world legal working environments, enhance your readiness for practice, and learn about possible career paths
Vital components of law students’ legal training
What you can expect
Each externship is unique
The type of work varies depending on the placement
All students engage in law-related work, no matter the externship
Designed to be a learning experience
Both your faculty and site supervisors will guide you in reflecting on your experience, which helps you learn and grow as a lawyer
Externships can be full- or part-time
You and your site supervisor must settle on the number of hours you will work each week
This number determines how many credits you earn. (See academic credit section for more information)
As part of your externship, you must attend and participate in a that corresponds to the specific legal focus of your externship.
Earning academic credit
Cost: You must pay for all earned credits in externships
All students have a total of 15 experiential credits that can be used for externships or clinics
Students ranked in top half:
Can take 6 additional credits
Are eligible to complete part- and full-time externships
Students ranked in bottom half:
Are limited to 15 credits
Are eligible to complete part-time externships
May take full-time externships and up to 21 credits by creating a Bar Success Plan with the Academic Resource Center (if approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs)
Note: Most sites will allow you to volunteer more hours than what you earn credit for. But please be aware that working more hours than what the credits require does not mean you will automatically earn more credits. Be aware also that at some sites, particularly in summer, students are required to work full-time, regardless of the number of credits earned.
Seattle University does not allow compensation for externship work.
You may be reimbursed for incidental expenses by your externship site if available.
When should I start applying to externships? Is there a deadline?
It is best to apply for externships about 3 to 5 months before the start of the semester. Here are a few things to be aware of.
To apply you must email a completed Externship Application Form (PDF) to the Externship Program Office and send cover letters for your three top sites.
Most sites do not have a deadline but fill their positions on a rolling basis. Some have lengthy background checks that can take 4 to 5 months.
A few sites have deadlines and won't accept applications after that point. If the sites have told us about these deadlines, we will include them in our Externship Clinic Newsletter.
Each seminar has a cap and seminars often fill up well before the start of the semester. Once the seminar is filled, you won't be able to earn credit, even if you found the site on your own,
It generally takes 2-4 weeks to get through the whole process — this includes sending a resume and cover letter, scheduling an interview, receiving an offer, and asking the externship program to register you for the seminar. Because of this time frame, we don't usually take applications in the last month before the semester starts.
There are always more externships looking for students than students looking for externships, so if you start early and keep applying to sites, you are guaranteed to find a position!